It was 1987 when Dr. Fred Hagedorn joined the staff at UMC as Director of the Emergency Room. Actually, he was the only ER physician...with just 12 beds. Today, there are 40 beds and 14 emergency physicians. Even so, Dr. Fred Hagedorn has personally treated more than 120,000 patients at UMC. Tonight, we look back at his influence on the South Plains, as he hangs up his white coat and moves on.
By the time NBC brought emergency medicine to prime time in '94, Dr. Fred Hagedorn had built a powerhouse at UMC with a brand new designation.... level one trauma center. An accomplishment noticed by long time TV physician Dr. Red Duke.
Dr. Duke, a physician at Herman Hospital in Houston, had a syndicated health report seen on NewsChannel 11 for years and as an ER doc himself, Dr. Duke wasn't the only physician comfortable on Lubbock television.
"The single most important thing for a doctor to know is what medication you're on," said Dr. Fred Hagedorn back in 1988.
Dr. Hagedorn has been making TV house calls for years...with advice on when to get emergency care..."If they think it's an emergency we think they should be seen."
On insecticide poisoning..."That's how they kill insects...and have the toxicity to kill humans too."
On keeping our kids buckled..."To not give them a seat belt seems cruel to me."
And once he was even a guest reporter, pushing his biggest safety message...the importance of seat belts.
Dr. Hagedorn has been a strong leader in every aspect of emergency medicine around here. Most of us know him as director of the emergency center at UMC, but there's much more.
Dr. Hagedorn was also director of Kingspark Urgent Care, director of the Emergency Room at Lubbock Heart Hospital. As director of South Plains EMS, he has proudly described Lubbock paramedics as among the most aggressive in the nation. He has also served as Chief of Staff at UMC and in Austin, he's a long time member of the governor's EMS and Trauma Advisory Council. And somehow, he has still found time to teach at the medical school.
And in an age where millions get their medical advice from emails, Dr. Hagedorn has always made himself accessible to the media to clear up the confusion. "It's not a hoax. They're applying it inappropriately," he says of the recent email alert that stated if you're by yourself and feeling a heart attack to cough like crazy, and you can jump start your own heart until help arrives.
"You might buy yourself 30 or 40 seconds, but it's totally impractical. It's of no value," said Dr. Hagedorn. What is of value, he says is calling 911...the lifeline to which he has committed his life in Lubbock for 22 years.
And although the characters have changed in the long-running NBC series 'ER', the lead role at UMC has been constant...season after season...until today. Dr. Fred Hagedorn is leaving Lubbock now to return to his roots in California, but he leaves us with this last advice.
"We're blessed here. Most of our accidents are not guns, knives, or bombs. Most accidents involve motor vehicles. And you can walk away from the most dramatic crash if you'll just wear your seat belt," says Dr. Hagedorn.
Fitting final words from a lifesaver, who leaves Lubbock with his Red Raider guns up. He will be missed.